After missing the last round of the MotoGP championship at Shanghai, Honda rider Makoto Tamada has vowed to honour his team with another heart-stopping ride in this weekend's French Grand Prix.

After missing the last round of the MotoGP championship at Shanghai, Honda rider Makoto Tamada has vowed to honour his team with another heart-stopping ride in this weekend's French Grand Prix.

Tamada sustained a fracture to his wrist while qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix in last month. The Japanese rider has had to miss the Chinese Grand Prix, a race that he won last year.

Since April 27 Tamada has had a 15 mm-long titanium pin inserted into his broken bone to dramatically reduce the fracture's healing time and allow him to ride in this weekend’s race.

"I'm ready to get back on the track," declared Tamada. "I still feel pain, but I hope the situation will get better. I trust that I will be able to fight for the positions that count.

"If I didn't feel I had the opportunity to compete with the best, I would probably have postponed my comeback on the RC211V," Tamada continued.

Honda's replacement rider, Jurgen van Goorbergh, finished in a very credible sixth place in China after receiving a last-minute call-up to the team. His impressive performance could merely have left Tamada threatened.

Another team with riders who have something to prove is the Suzuki duo of Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins.

Roberts was leading the Chinese Grand Prix before he was sidelined by a mechanical failure. His team-mate, John Hopkins, who led a MotoGP race for the first time in his career, went on to record his best finish this season by finishing in seventh place.

"It was really exciting to have both the Suzuki GSV-R's lead the race," team manager Paul Denning stated, "but to see Kenny forced to retire was a massive kick in the teeth."

"Having said that, the team has bounced back positively, and we have been able to assess all the encouraging pointers that came from China. The GSV-R showed good potential in wet conditions and the performances from both Kenny and John were very strong.

"We will be trying as hard as we can to make sure both the guys can be competitive this weekend. Shanghai showed that the bike has improved dramatically both in wet and dry conditions - John's fourth place during qualifying in the dry and Kenny leading the race with ease in the wet proved that - but Le Mans is a track that requires high acceleration and we are under no illusions that we will have to work hard to find the optimum package," Denning concluded.